Hong Kong a gateway for doing business

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New Delhi, Dec 14 (UNI) Hong Kong today welcomed Indian companies to use its strategic location as a launch pad into mainland China.

''I urged Indian entrepreneurs to take advantage of Hong Kong's position as both an international business centre in Asia and China's global financial hub,'' Hong Kong's Financial Secretary John Tsang id.

He added ten years after reunification Hong Kong enjoys a much deeper relationship with the mainland. The city is working to enhance its unrivalled status as China's global financial centre by facilitating the flow of investment in and out of the Mainland.

The Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) has enabled firms to leverage their position when they are incorporated in Hong Kong, Mr Tsang said while addressing a seminar here on 'Hong Kong: Your high-speed connection to China Opportunities.' ''Because we have a nationality-neutral policy, foreign services firms incorporated in Hong Kong can leverage on CEPA to do business in the mainland,'' he said.

For new arrivals wishing to benefit from CEPA, there are plenty of opportunities to partner with companies already in Hong Kong, he added.

According to InvestHK, an investment promotion agency of the Hong Kong government, the total trade between India and Hong Kong was worth 7.7 billion dollars in 2006, of which Indian exports were 4.7 billion dollars.

While India's major exports were engineering goods, chemicals, agriculture and petroleum products and gems&jewellery. Hong Kong's three billion dollars exports to India included petroleum products, machinery, precious and semi-precious stones.

The Secretary also called on Indian companies to look into the Hong Kong stock market as a source of capital and diversification for fund-raising activities.

In terms of market capitalisation, Hong Kong's exchange is the worlds seventh largest and the third largest in Asia after Tokyo and Shanghai.

The Hong Kong stock exchange, which is operated by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, has become the world's biggest market for initial public offerings after London following a surge in listings by mainland Chinese companies in the past few years.

Earlier in the day Mr Tsang met the Finance Minister P Chidambaram where he raised the need for increased and more convenient air services between Hong Kong and India to cope with growing demand from increased business co-operation.

The air services negotiations between the two are expected to start sometime next week.

Both sides also recognised the need to kick-start the stalled negotiations for an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement between Hong Kong and India.

The issue of double taxation also figured out in the list of discussions between Mr Chidambaram and Mr Tsang.

UNI

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